Home > Delaware Legislation > Legislation Would Require Districts to Report Bullying, Be Audited

Legislation Would Require Districts to Report Bullying, Be Audited

March 14, 2012

Updated Friday, March 2, 2012 – 3:08pm

Delaware takes steps to ramp up its efforts to combat bullying.
WDEL’s Amy Cherry reports.

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The legislation would require districts to report incidents of bullying.

Attorney General Beau Biden says that’s something that obviously isn’t happening and the statistics show.

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“Last year there were 38 incidents of bullying reported from Lauren to the DOE. William Penn High School, which represents well over 2,000 students, 0 cases of bullying reported,” explains Biden.

Biden goes on to say four districts total reported 0 incidents of bullying, which Lieutenant Governor Matt Denn says “simply isn’t true.”

The legislation also calls for schools to be audited randomly by the state Department of Education to ensure they’re telling the truth.

Schools will also be required to put the Attorney General’s anti-bullying hotline on their web sites.

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“Four people called this morning about bullying to our office,” says Biden.

Denn calls this new age of cyber-bullying “on steroids.” He wants to develop one of the nation’s strongest anti-cyber bullying laws that will go into effect the next academic year. He says the law will be strong it will stand up against what he calls “inevitable” legal challenges.

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“I’m just not prepared to accept the idea that the First Amendment protects eighth graders posting vicious videos of each other on YouTube or publishing venom about their peers on Facebook.”

When asked whether the legislation was formed in response to recent suicides at Polytech High School in Dover, both Attorney General Biden and Lt. Gov. Denn said, no, this measure is in response to parents and students complaints. But one of the bill’s sponsors, Sen. Margaret Rose Henry, says the Polytech tragedy definitely adds some “urgency” to the issue.

Meantime, William Penn High School’s Principal is reacting to the statistics that show zero bullying incidents at his school.

Dr. Jeff Menzer tells WDEL they follow the Colonial School District’s code of conduct with regards to bullying.

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“If those numbers are accurate, then there must be some inconsistencies with reporting incidents because given my first-hand knowledge of William Penn and the kinds of situations that we may have dealt with regarding students, I find it very difficulty to believe that there are no incidents of bullying in the system that we have dealt with,” says Menzer.

Menzer says these numbers lend support to what Biden and Denn are trying to do. He says more consistency across all districts is needed when it comes to the definition of bullying and reporting it.

Copyright © Mar 14, 2012, WDEL/Delmarva Broadcasting Company. All Rights Reserved.
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